Cupcakes for dinner... Seriously??
This started out as an idea I had, and it took a lot of trial and error to get these to perfection. Now I can't get my boyfriend to stop begging for them every night! They are delicious and cute and everything you could ever ask for out of a Pizza Cupcake! As it turns out - the Italians did not invent the Pizza, and neither did New Yorkians, or Chicagans. Wikipedia claims it was the Ancient Greece! The Italians only improved upon an ingenious idea.. And it appears that I have, too! Pizza cupcakes offer a personalized serving of gooey, cheesy, bready goodness to everyone!
I show you how to make a homemade marinara sauce in this Instructable. It is surprisingly easy! You'll wonder why you've never thought of it before... I use store bought dough (from my local grocery store's bakery - Pillsbury works, too!), store bought soy crumbles and Daiya cheese. I encourage you to try this with your own favorite toppings. Do you like olives? Onions? Pepperoni?
Step 1: Roasted Garlic
I only really have after shots of this process so I apologize. This is very easy to do, and you will probably start doing this all the time, if you don't already... I use roasted garlic in hummus, in sauces, and just spread onto toast. It is SO good.
Preheat the oven to 350º F (177ºC).
So you'll need one whole bulb of garlic. Start by cutting off just enough of the top to expose most of the cloves just a little bit. Drizzle olive over the cloves and wrap the bulb in tin foil.
Place in the oven for one hour on middle rack.
Step 2: Marinara Sauce
Once you realize how easy it is to home-make marinara sauce, I bet you'll never buy it again. One major rule I learned once - Keep it Simple, Stupid!
Things You'll Need
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 small onions, chopped. (Or about one heaping cup of chopped onions)
2 tsp olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Mince the garlic. I do that in my mini food processor with about half a tablespoon of olive oil. The olive oil helps it to mince.
In a large sauce pan, heat the oil on med-high heat and cook the garlic until golden brown. DO NOT BURN THE GARLIC.
Add the chopped onions. Cook for about 7 minutes or until translucent.
Stir in the tomato paste with the onions and garlic. Watch the paste get darker red in color. The darker the red, the better the sauce witll taste. This is the key to a super duper awesome sauce. However, do not let the tomato paste burn...
Pour in the juice from the crushed red tomatoes and deglaze the pan, and then add in the rest of the tomatoes and the spices.
Bring to a simmer and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Add the roasted garlic and simmer for another 15 minutes, or until desired thickness is achieved.
Step 3: Prepare the Cupcake Pan
Grease and flour the pan.
Roll out the dough and use a round cookie cutter (or a lid or rim) to cut out circles the size of the bottom of the cupcake. You want the dough about 1/4 inch thick.
Pizza dough is frustrating sometimes, so be patient with it!
Step 4: Preparing the Cupcakes
Scoop a dollop of marinara sauce into each cupcake. Use a rubber spatula to even out the sauce.
Add ingredients on top of the sauce in layers.
Cover the ingredients in cheese. The cheese layer should be close to filling up the cupcake.
Use a basting brush to spread olive oil onto the crust.
Step 5: Crust
What is pizza without a crust?
Take a small, ping pong size ball of dough and work it with your hands until it is in the shape of a snake. You want it to be long enough to fit the circumference of the cupcake. Make it into a ring and place it on top of the cheese around the edge of the cupcake.
Add a little bit of cheese to fill in the ring, and a few beef crumbles to add some color and crispy flavor on top.
Bake in the oven for 16 minutes at 375ºF